City of Civility
In 2023, the Georgia Municipal Association (GMA) initiated the EMBRACE Civility program, aimed at inspiring municipal elected officials to embrace their pivotal role in exemplifying open, free, and robust discourse while upholding the highest standards of civility, integrity, and mutual respect. This duty extends not only to their interactions with each other but also to their constituents.
To attain the esteemed title of a "City of Civility," municipalities are required to adopt a civility resolution that aligns with the recommendations approved by the GMA Board of Directors. Additionally, these cities commit to the civility pledge and the practice of the nine pillars of civility.
In May, the City Council and Key Management Team of the City of Lawrenceville took a momentous step by embracing the Civility Pledge, thus endorsing the principles of civility. Subsequently, the City Council passed a resolution officially designating Lawrenceville as a "City of Civility," proudly displaying this commitment throughout municipal buildings.
The pinnacle of this journey occurred on June 26 during the annual GMA convention awards luncheon. This historic event witnessed the inaugural group of 77 cities being honored with the prestigious "City of Civility" designation. Simultaneously, this moment marked the birth of the first-ever "Organization of Civility," with the GMA proudly assuming this pioneering role.
What is Civility?
Civility is more than just politeness. It is about disagreeing without disrespect, seeking common ground as a starting point for dialogue about differences, listening past one’s preconceptions and teaching others to do the same. Civility is the hard work of staying present even with those with whom we have deep-rooted and fierce disagreement.
Why Civility Matters for Cities
- Civil behavior and speech are critically important to a healthy, functional and respectful society.
- A 2019 survey revealed that 93 percent of Americans believe that incivility is a problem, with 68 percent identifying incivility as a major problem.
- Cities need a plan to counteract the growing polarization and challenges caused by incivility.